Minn. Cops Hunt Sex Offender

A rapist who broke out of a state treatment center here along with three other men remained on the lam Sunday, authorities said.

Michael Dale Benson, 42, squeezed through a broken window Saturday night with the three others, who were later caught. Police continued to search the St. Peter area on Sunday, though they believed Benson may have taken a stolen vehicle out of the area.

Police also stopped by packed churches on Easter Sunday and handed out fliers with Benson's picture. Officials warned that he had a history of sex offenses and should be considered dangerous.

Benson and the others escaped from the treatment facility around 9 p.m. Saturday when they removed a metal bar and then smashed a security window, said Wes Kooistra, the deputy commissioner of the state Human Services Department. The men squeezed through an 8-inch by 20-inch opening, leaving blood stains on the jagged glass, Kooistra said.

The men likely ran into the woods after leaving through the window, he said.

About 20 teams of two people patrolled the St. Peter area Saturday, and three of the men were later caught. Benson remained at large. He was described as American Indian/Caucasian, 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds with dark hair and brown eyes.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Benson may have stolen a green, four-door 1997 Ford Crown Victoria with license plate number MXB801.